Author: James Anderson

Drinking Levels Defined National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism NIAAA

can an alcoholic drink in moderation

There are 140,000 alcohol-related deaths in this country each year, Rahman said, and there were 2.8 million deaths globally in 2016, according to the Lancet paper. They may have been “problem drinkers,” “heavy drinkers,” or “binge drinkers.” “Moderate consumption” is limited to one to two alcoholic drinks per day for healthy men and one alcoholic drink per day for healthy women. One drink is equivalent to 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits. The paper also found a significant interaction between the age of study subjects and their mortality risk.

Once you are able to control how much you drink, you may find that you’re better able to enjoy family gatherings, social events, and work events. Whether via self-talk or a conversation with a trusted friend, family member, or healthcare professional, it’s important to talk about your urges and remind yourself why you chose to moderate your drinking in the first place. Learning to accept these feelings, and finding healthy ways to distract yourself from them, will also go a long way toward helping you to handle any urges to drink.

can an alcoholic drink in moderation

Talk with your doctor right away if you have signs of alcohol use disorder — even if you don’t think they’re causing any problems in your life. Certain health problems — like depression or anxiety, sleep problems, and chronic pain — can put you at a higher risk for alcohol use disorder. These calories add up — and getting more calories than you need can make it harder to stay at a healthy weight. Binge drinking and heavy alcohol use can increase an individual’s risk of alcohol use disorder. So whether you raise a glass to Schaffner’s takeaway from the review paper (“don’t drink too much”) or lower it in response to Rahman’s (“don’t drink”), it’s best to imbibe responsibly, if at all. As we get back to more social events, business meetings, and situations where you may have abused alcohol in the past, it may be time to consider how you can achieve moderation.

Drink Alcohol Only in Moderation

12-step programs alone do not usually address the underlying need that’s been suppressed through alcohol. Without addressing those needs, it’s like trying to cap an active volcano with a giant boulder. Sooner or later, the pressure will build up and the volcano will explode—or you will relapse. By Buddy TBuddy T is a writer and founding member of the Online Al-Anon Outreach Committee with decades of experience writing about alcoholism. Because he is a member of a support group that stresses the importance of anonymity at the public level, he does not use his photograph or his real name on this website. This information on drinking in moderation was adapted from materials from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

  1. Large studies published in the past several years, he said, have established that no level of drinking is safe.
  2. One reason that might explain the link between moderate drinking and lower mortality risk seen in some studies, the authors said, is that light and moderate drinkers tend to be healthier than abstainers.
  3. 12-step programs alone do not usually address the underlying need that’s been suppressed through alcohol.

Instead of drinking alcohol, plan out the non-alcoholic beverages you can order or make instead. Enjoyable, non-alcoholic alternatives include soda and fresh lime juice, virgin mojitos, soda with fresh fruit, kombucha, or mocktails. One of the best things about moderating your alcohol use is filling those times spent drinking or obtaining alcohol with fun hobbies and activities.

If you use alcohol to manage stress or self-medicate, fear of how you’ll cope without alcohol might hamper your efforts to regain control of your drinking. If you consider alcohol as a coping strategy, then it makes sense why heading straight to abstinence would be terrifying. Decide how many days a week you’ll drink and how much you’ll drink on those days. It’s also a good idea to have some days when you don’t drink at all.

On average, they have a better diet, exercise more often, and have better dental hygiene than people who don’t drink at all. The study, which included nearly 5 million people, found that low-volume drinkers had a significantly lower mortality risk than did lifetime abstainers. Even moderate drinking may raise your risk for some types of heart disease and cancer. For example, the risk of breast cancer increases even at low levels of drinking (for example, less than 1 drink in a day).

More on Diet & Weight Management

But that doesn’t mean other adults can’t enjoy it in moderation. Moderation can open a window for you to defuse the emotional challenges that create the craving for relief that alcohol provides. While you are taking a break from drinking or limiting your drinking, you have an opportunity to develop better coping skills, address your drinking behaviors, and find healthier ways of dealing with the issues that drinking is covering up.

can an alcoholic drink in moderation

January 26, 2023—Evidence suggests that moderate alcohol consumption may provide some health benefits, including lower risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. But any potential benefits must be weighed against potential risks, such as increased risk of breast cancer—not to mention the many harms that can result from excessive drinking—leading some experts to conclude that no amount of alcohol is safe to consume. A 2018 review paper in The Lancet, including more than 1,200 studies worldwide, found that while light drinking offers some protection from heart disease, the harmful effects of alcohol on health start with even low-volume drinking.

Moderated Drinking May Empower You to Give Up Drinking Entirely

The JAMA study didn’t go as far as the Lancet article in linking low levels of drinking to mortality risk. While moderate drinking doesn’t equal a health benefit, it also doesn’t seem to raise the risk of death by very much, the authors said. Many studies over the past 20 years have suggested that people who have a drink a day or less may have a lower risk of cancer, heart disease, or all-cause mortality than those who abstain from drinking. Yet a growing body of newer research shows that those claims may be a mirage. Learning to drink in moderation can be the goal, or it can be a way station on the way to abstinence.

Get Your Blood Pressure Checked

It’s long been known that alcohol reduces the amygdala’s reactivity to threatening stimuli while individuals are drinking. The current study is the first to indicate that light to moderate alcohol consumption has longer-term neurobiological effects in dampening activity in the amygdala, which may have a significant downstream impact on the cardiovascular system. While light/moderate drinkers lowered their risk for cardiovascular disease, the study also showed that any amount of alcohol increases the risk of cancer.